Monthly Archives: December 2007

Happy New Year!

I’m back from New York! A dicky broadband connection meant I couldn’t update my blog from the hotel, and now I won’t have a chance until the end of the week as I have New Year’s visitors. So until then, here’s a picture of me in Central Park on Christmas Eve. Boy, do I look happy!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas – and may you all have a fabulous New Year!

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Chilly Squirrels

I’m flying off to New York today, fog permitting (I don’t live far from Heathrow and it’s a proper pea-souper out there). I’ll be taking Shep with me and my hotel has wifi, so with luck I’ll be able to update this blog while I’m there. Just in case I can’t, I’ll say a hearty “Merry Christmas” right now!

It’s cold in New York at the moment, but it’s also cold here in London. Check out the frozen lake in Regent’s Park:

I felt sorry for the park’s squirrels, so I took them some nuts last week. Apparently everybody else and their uncle gives them nuts, too, so they get quite cocky. And there’s a lot of them…

… although they don’t always get on, as this video proves:

Next park I’ll walk through? Central Park. Wonder if the New York squirrels act any differently?

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"It’s horrible and I didn’t understand it and it made me feel old."

Hello again! Yes, I’m back after my Week Of Fun (TM) with Biddy, which sounds vaguely dirty except it most certainly wasn’t, if you excuse some perfectly understandable drooling over the male cast of Supernatural. (Incidentally, the show’s Christmas episode? Terrific!)

Usually whenever Biddy and I get together we eat mountains of junk food and melt into our respective sofas as we watch hour upon hour of TV shows and movies. Oddly enough, this time round we only did that once. The rest of the time we actually went out and did stuff, which was pretty cool, although hard on the feet. The highlight was our trip to the O2 to see the King Tutankhamun exhibition, which was mind-bogglingly amazing and ignited a hitherto-unrecognised need inside me to visit the tomb itself, not to mention the rest of the collection in Cairo. I feel like I nibbled the edge of a chocolate biscuit, only to have someone whip it out of my hand and run off with it before I could take a proper bite.

The only downside to the exhibition was the hideously tacky gift shop you had to walk into as you left behind the majesties and wonders of Egypt 3,300 years before we were born. Who the HELL would buy a King Tut tissue holder? Or a bobble-head doll? Or a Top Trumps game? Maybe in a toy shop, but not 30 seconds after viewing his real-life treasures! Talk about hitting the 21st century with a bang…

Less aggravating was the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum. Here’s my favourite pic:

… closely followed by this one:

… and then this one (entitled “Midnight Eruption”, which really does sound dirty):

Oh, and we saw Crowded House twice. Their Wembley Arena gig was fabulous, although we did get caught up in a scuffle as we danced in front of the stage and the security guards tried to make us sit down again. Eventually the band got involved (I had no idea Nick Seymour knew such naughty words – he really wasn’t pleased with the guards) but it ended well. And they played “Black And White Boy”, which I’ve never heard live, so that’s just about made my year. Well, that and being able to walk again after my surgery, obviously.

Here are Neil Finn, Nick Seymour and new Crowded House drummer Matt Sherrod getting in the Christmas spirit at the Royal Albert Hall:

And here’s Mark Hart – he’s a bit shy:

This week I’m spending two days on Metal Hammer magazine and three days on Official Xbox 360 Magazine, and then I’m off to New York on Sunday. It’s snowing like buggery out there at the moment. While I’m thrilled at the prospect of a white Christmas, I’m a little worried it might affect my flights… although an extra night in New York wouldn’t go amiss if, say, it decided to snow on the 27th…

And lastly, you may be wondering about the header at the top of this entry. That’s what Biddy said after discovering a strange plastic toy something-or-other (a plane? A weird machine? A monkey?) inside her Kinder egg.

You know you’re leaving behind your childhood when a Kinder egg makes you feel inadequate.

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"Did I just say that out loud?"

I’m watching Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix with Biddy.

Fred Weasley: “You know, George, I’ve always felt our futures lay outside the world of academic achievement.”

Biddy: “Porn stars?”

Bleedin’ hell, I’ve missed her.

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The Return Of A Crowded House (and Crowded House: the band)

My friend Biddy is coming to stay with me on Friday, so I might not be able to blog for a week or so. We haven’t seen each other for over a year and intend to make the most of our time together. This is our itinerary as it stands so far:

1) See Crowded House in concert at Wembley Arena.
2) See Crowded House in concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
3) Watch every episode of Supernatural‘s third season again.
4) Visit the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum.
5) Visit the Tutankhamun exhibition.
6) Shop.
7) Eat lots of junk food.
8) On one of the two days during which I have to work, we’ll meet up for lunch and then she will go on to London Zoo while I go back to work (I’m not looking forward to that very much).
9) Watch some more Supernatural.
10) Open a ridiculous amount of Christmas presents and laugh at how dumb they are.

All in all, it should be a good week!

And… It’s photo time! (I love my cameraphone. Can you tell? Just wait until I hit New York, folks!)

This is Doris Salcedo’s art installation at Tate Modern, ‘Shibboleth’, which is essentially a honking big crack running the entire length of the Turbine Hall. Apparently it represents “power’s divisive operations as encoded in the brutal narratives of colonialism, their unhappy aftermaths in postcolonial nations, and in the stand-off between rich and poor, northern and southern hemispheres.”

Which is a rather poncy way of saying “I made a honking big crack and called it art.”

The funny thing is, people keep falling down it. There are signs everywhere and it’s not exactly wide (see photo below, with my foot for scale), and yet several people have shoved their ankles into it and hurt themselves.

Now, call me cruel, but you have to be A SPECIAL KIND OF STUPID to trip over the very thing you’ve come to the gallery to see, don’t you?

This is the big spidery sculpture thing outside the Tate that looks bloody terrifying, although these kids didn’t seem to be bothered…

Note St Paul’s Cathedral in the background – which, I’ve just discovered, costs a whopping £9.50 to enter. It’s expensive to talk to God nowadays. I’m SO in the wrong business.

And finally, Covent Garden in Christmas mode. By gum, that’s purty!

See you in a week or so. Be good! Although don’t, because that’s boring.

(By the way, you can click on these pics and make them bigger if you want. Just thought I’d mention it. Did I say I love my cameraphone? Oh, I did? Sorry…)

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